A Viewpoint article published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that the clinical practice of prescribing amphetamines, opioids, and benzodiazepines to treat chronic pain may be contributing to the increase in fatal drug overdoses and the likelihood that those drugs will be diverted to the illegal market. "Rethinking Opioid Prescribing to Protect Patient Safety and Public Health" was authored by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, and Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, and Stefan P. Kruszewski, MD, of MD & Associates.
"More people in the U.S. die from a drug overdose than they do from motor vehicle accidents and more of those deaths are caused by prescription opioids than those attributable to cocaine and heroin combined," said Alexander, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School and co-director of the new Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness.
There are measures currently in place to monitor the increasing epidemic of opioid abuse, including limits on the number of opioid prescriptions covered by insurers, requirements that these drugs be supplied through a single physician or pharmacy, and state prescription drug monitoring programs. However, the Viewpoint conveys that unless there is a clinical shift in the widespread use of these medicines, efforts to reduce opioid abuse may not succeed.
"Prescribing opioids as a matter of course for treatment impedes the opportunity to explore and implement other methods of therapy that could offer relief for millions of Americans who suffer from acute or chronic pain," said Webster, professor of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School. "It also increases the odds these drugs will be misused or diverted from the legal to the illegal market, leading to more addiction and death."
The article reveals there are clear correlations between national trends for prescription opioid sales, admissions for substance abuse treatment, and deaths. It also recommends that existing regulatory and enforcement measures to prevent nonmedical use and diversion should be complimented by changes to clinical guidelines to treat chronic pain that are less reliant on opioids.
"It's evident more research needs to be done to identify alternative approaches to pain management and treatment, but prescribing practices must change to reverse what has become a pervasive epidemic leading to widespread morbidity, mortality, and community strife," Alexander added.
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health: http://www.jhsph.edu
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Flu cases across the US can be accurately estimated using Wikipedia searches, and fluey tweets from Twitter users also give the game away
Workers who have a creative outlet outside the office are more likely to be creative problem solvers on the job, a study suggests. Oh, and they have more fun.
Scientists to grow a crop of camelina plants genetically modified to produce fish oils that could be used in health supplements Continue reading...
Kent Kiehl has been interviewing psychopaths for more than 20 years. More recently he's acquired a mobile MRI scanner and permission to scan the brains of New Mexico state prison inmates. He talked with WIRED about what's different in the brains of psychopaths and why he views psychopathy as a preventable mental disorder.
In Snakes, Sunrises, and Shakespeare, evolutionary psychology pioneer Gordon H. Orians traces the roots of today's human quirks in the minds of our ancestors
The World Health Organization says an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa has been linked to the deaths of more than 120 people. As of Monday, the organization recorded a total of 200 suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola, which is normally found in central or eastern Africa, in…
To see if low blood sugar sours even good relationships, scientists used an unusual tool: voodoo dolls representing spouses. As hunger levels rose, so did the number of pins.
A Beijing artist who collected a jar of air from Provence, France, sold it at auction "to question China's foul air and express dissatisfaction."
With purported activity against cardiac disease, cancer and even ageing, the pressure on resveratrol to deliver is enormous
Health workers responding to an Ebola outbreak in Guinea had no maps to go on, so they turned to the internet for help